Audio Middle East

Don’t Forget Religion: The Middle East and Journalism

I recently was interviewed by Dr. Alfonse Javed, host of the podcast Our Urban Voices. We spoke about the necessity of religious literacy in reporting on this often-troubled region, and how I go about my job. It runs about 35 minutes, and the topics are listed by timestamp, below.

Additionally, Isabella Meibauer interviewed me (among others) on a similar topic for her article in IJNet, “Tips for Reporting Ethically and Accurately from Abroad.”

Please click here for the link to the podcast, and click here for the link to the article. It is our privilege as journalists to represent the perspectives of our sources. Thanks for your interest, from time to time, in what we think as well.

Timestamped Show Notes:

01:41 – Topic: The Importance of Representing all Views in Journalism

01:50 – Family, from America to Lebanon

03:39 – A Day in the Life of a Journalist

06:59 – Reporting Complexities Fairly

08:56 – Representing 2% of Population

10:04 – What is Sympathetic Reporting?

10:28 – Hope, Reflection and Prayer

13:28 – Handling an Accusation of Bias

16:22 – Religion Impacting News in the Middle East

18:05 – Religion a Factor in Community Relations

18:23 – Religion a Factor in Politics

20:37 – Christians in the Middle East and Diaspora

21:37 – Relations Between Christian and Muslim Communities in the Middle East

23:17 – Religious Identity and Neighborliness

24:02 – Surprised by Christians in the Middle East

25:26 – Christians in Egypt

27:10 – Learning about the Middle Eastern Culture

27:46 – Cheaper Way to ‘Travel’ to the Middle East

28:04 – Middle Eastern Hospitality

28:22 – Connecting Middle Eastern Christians to Americans

29:17 – Contacting Jayson Casper

30:45 – Joke: A Sheikh and Albert Einstein


Audio Appearances

As 2020 draws to a close, many people are saying ‘Amen.’ Amid all the terrible events, much has been left undone.

That is an overly dramatic introduction to a catch-up post.

Thank you to everyone who keeps up with the articles I write. But over the course of this last year I missed sharing two audio appearances for my work.

I did post about one of them. See here for my interview about the situation in Armenia.

But back in May I was a guest on The Underground Sessions: Intersection of Faith, Culture, and Politics.

The podcast is hosted by Millington Baptist Church in New Jersey, and they asked me to share my thoughts on the situation in Lebanon.

Please click here if you would like to listen in to the 41-minute episode.

Of course, the situation in Lebanon grew much worse since then. In August, explosive materials detonated at the Beirut port, and things have still not gone back to normal.

The radio show The Common Good picked up on my article for Christianity Today, about how I explained the blast to my children.

They did not interview me, but engaged with the material and reflected upon it.

Please click here if you would like to listen. The link directs to minute 56 of the show, where the Lebanon segment begins.

Some people have a face for radio. Who knows, maybe I have a voice for newspapers. But as this year comes to a close, amid all the troubles, I can say ‘Amen’ for the life I have.

Thank you for learning along with me.


Interview: Pilgrim Radio and the Armenian Crisis

Two weeks ago, I was interviewed by Pilgrim Radio about the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

But the primary angle was Turkish repentance. Recently for Christianity Today, I wrote about a movement among Turkish Christians to apologize for the Armenian genocide.

To do so it was necessary to provide context, and also reflect on current events.

Since recording, the conflict ended with a decisive victory for Azerbaijan.

But the story is not yet over. Armenians are leaving their ancient land, as Russia and Turkey work out a new geopolitical arrangement.

Please click here to listen to the recording on Pilgrim Radio, a Christian network operating in the American northwest.

Otherwise, here is the direct link on Soundcloud:

This is the third time I have presented on their program. The first was on the growth of Christianity in the Arabian Peninsula. The second was on Coptic forgiveness of ISIS for the martyrs in Libya.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope you profit from the listening.

Audio Middle East

Interview: Pilgrim Radio and Coptic Forgiveness

Pilgrim Radio Copts

I knew Hamilton existed, but very little beyond this. My editor’s linking to ‘unimaginable‘ may have helped the article go viral.

It was already a compelling story. Forgiveness offered by the widow of the Coptic doorman who save the lives of dozens, intervening against a suicide bomber.

It was a morbid type of fun to watch the article circulate online. I was very glad to tell the story. But so very sad there is a story to tell.

So it is a similar feeling being interviewed about it. Pilgrim Radio is a Christian network in the northwest United States, and they asked me to share with their listeners. If you like, here is the 27 minute program.

And here is the original article at Christianity Today, if you’d like to refresh your memory before listening.

I was interviewed by Pilgrim Radio once before, on the churches and Christians of the Arabian Peninsula.

Thanks for following along. Just remember to aim for more than appreciating the Coptic example. To the best of your ability, with God’s help, imitate. It can now be imagined.

Audio Middle East

Podcast: How the Coptic Christian Church Endures

This ‘Quick to Listen‘ podcast was first published at Christianity Today, on December 15, 2016.


Egypt’s Coptic Christians are in a state of mourning after a suicide bomber killed at least 25 people at a Cairo church on Sunday.

“Egypt always tends to rally around Christians at moments like this,” said Jayson Casper, CT’s Middle East correspondent. “But over time, [ISIS is] trying to hammer and hammer and hammer the Christians in Egypt and put so much pressure on the internal government that it itself may collapse.”

But even when suffering does come, the Coptic Church “is equipped to deal with it,” said Casper.

“They can say, ‘This has always happened to us in our history. It is how God has treated us and he perseveres with us through it.’”

While the attack was the worst to target Copts since the 2011 New Year’s bombing of a church in Alexandria that killed 23 people, the population has been the victim of sectarian violence for years. In 2015, ISIS, who also claimed responsibility for the latest attack, beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

Casper joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss the fascinating and important history of Coptic Christians, how the Egyptian church relates to a changing government, and why this most recent attack is unique.

Please click here to listen to the podcast at Christianity Today (38 minutes).

Audio Middle East

Interview: Pilgrim Radio and the Christians of the Gulf

Pilgrim Radio

A little while back I was interviewed by Pilgrim Radio about my Christianity Today article on the growth of Christianity in the Arabian Peninsula.

Pilgrim Radio is a Christian non-commercial FM broadcasting network reaching the American West from Colorado to California. The mission is ‘to advance a program of Christian education using an artful blend of music and Scripture, stimulating instruction, interesting guests, and great books, all done in the public interest.’

The website carries only live content, so the director was kind enough to share the audio file with me. Please click on the player below if you’d like to listen in on the 27 minute show, on the His People program.

Coincidentally, the live program tonight (March 2) is an interview with Nicole Walters on worshiping with the Copts in Egypt.

Please click here to read the original article at Christianity Today, and here for a follow up interview CT did for a behind the scenes perspective. Click here for photos I took of the many churches being built in the United Arab Emirates.

Here and here you can read related stories from my trip at Lapido Media, about an English priest in Abu Dhabi engaging a Hack-a-Thon to strengthen migrant rights, and a missionary hospital in al-Ain that won the royal goodwill to make all the above possible.

Thanks for your interest, and I hope you enjoy.

When writing an article, though my name is given it is nice to stay in the background and let my sources tell the story. It is different getting used to radio, when the voice is mine. But this was my second effort (click here for the first — on ISIS and Christian response for the Dan Darling podcast), so perhaps more opportunities will come.


Podcast: On the Middle East, Christians, and ISIS

The Way Home - Dan DarlingThis week I had the opportunity to appear on ‘The Way Home‘ podcast, hosted by Dan Darling. Darling is the Vice President for Communications at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he invited me to share about current events in the Middle East and in particular how they are impacting Christians. Here is his introduction:

All of us have reacted with horror at the atrocities committed by the terrorist group ISIS upon Christians in the Middle East. How can Christians pray? How should we think about ISIS?

Today on The Way Home I talk with Jayson Casper, a Christianity Today journalist who has been covering this story. He called me from Cairo to discuss how Christians in places like Egypt, Jordan, and other countries are reacting to the atrocities of their brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq and Libya. He also gives a thorough analysis of ISIS and Islamic extremism.

Our conversation lasted about half an hour, touching on various questions. Is ISIS Islamic? How are Christians responding? How should Western Christians pray?

Please click here to open a new window and listen to the podcast.